I grew up with the idea that God would bless any nation that supported the state of Israel. Why? Because the modern state of Israel was established in fulfillment of biblical prophecy and thus Christians should support this secular state on the grounds that God created this modern nation. I eventually came to question the entire system (i.e., dispensationalism) behind this idea. But I have never questioned the idea that supporting Israel politically was a good idea for the United States of America. My good friend Andrew Sandlin has expressed my view so clearly that I can’t improve on what he wrote today. Check out his argument at http://www.christianculture.com/cgi-local/npublisher/viewnews.cgi?category=3&id=1152907961.

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  1. Dave Dryer July 15, 2006 at 9:48 pm

    Greetings John.
    The central thesis of Sandlin’s article troubles me. He writes, “I do, however, support it on political grounds — and so should all other Christians.” To argue that there is a political position that all Christians should be together on almost elevates that position to orthodoxy. I don’t think he wants to say that but the statement, which is foundational in his editorial, is nonetheless there.
    Although the Israeli government operates as a democracy with its own people, it fails miserably with minorities within its borders, most notably the Palestinians and Christians. (Ironically, if a Christian visits Israel and wishes to worship on the Lord’s Day, it will only be with the Palestinians.) Many of the rights in our Bill of Rights are not found as we know them in Israel (and are categorically denied the Palestinians). None of this means that a Christian may choose to support Israel. But there is no “Christian” position on this. And should we decide we do not support Israel “politically” we have not denied the faith or the church.
    God bless.

  2. David Bahnsen July 16, 2006 at 10:16 am

    Dave –
    I think your categories are a bit off here … Andrew is not at all tying a Christian’s ethical obligation in the Israel situation to a precept of orthodoxy … One can very easily believe that all Christians OUGHT to do something (i.e. support Israel politically), without believing that thos who fail to do so are outside the bounds of orthodoxy. Indeed, I believe many sincere Christians are simply naive, unethical, and uneducated, and those things give them their excuse for abhorently failing to support our political ally, Israel.

  3. David Bahnsen July 16, 2006 at 10:47 am

    One of the major factors several years ago in my decision to support our efforts in Iraq was the absolutely bizarre statements Saddam Hussein, a secular Muslim if there ever was one, was making about the “Holy Muslim faith”, and the “zionist leeches”, etc. His use of religious rhetoric and anti-Jewish tirades to generate emotional support for himself were as easy to see through as glass, yet I knew that in a post-9/11 environment we had to take these things as more than just “cheerleading”, and actually respect the statements and rhetoric shift for what they were – threats (to us, to Israel, to democracy, to his own people, to Middle Eastern stability, etc.). Similarly, when I hear the head of Hezbollah on international television this morning lie through his teeth about their targets, lie through his teeth about Israel’s targets, and promise an all-out war (bizarre, as they have been promising this for years), I can not imagine an ethical alternative to supporting Israel, and condemning the Jihadists … May civilian casualties be limited throughout, and may Israel protect herself, her people, and future generations by wiping these people off the map.

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